As Jazz noted last week, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately consider the environmental consequences of the Dakota Access Pipeline. That was a win for the Standing Rock Sioux, the tribe that has led the fight against the pipeline, though it did not stop oil from flowing. Wednesday, the judge outlined a timeline for deciding whether to allow the oil to continue to flow while the Army Corps does its fresh environmental review. From the Washington Post:
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Wednesday approved a schedule under which both sides in a lawsuit over the pipeline will submit written arguments on the matter in July and August.
“We would expect a decision sometime after that, probably September,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux, which filed the lawsuit last summer that was later joined by three other Sioux tribes.
As for when the underlying environmental review will be complete, a representative for the Corps told the judge he could not offer an estimate. From the Hill:
Matthew Marinelli, an Army Corps of Engineers lawyer, said he had “no timeframe” for completing that review, and that he would have an updated schedule when he files more paperwork with the court on July 17.
Asked by U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg if he could estimate what the timeline might be, Marinelli said, “I’m very hesitant to do that.”
“The Corps is just starting to grapple with the issues the court has identified,” he said.
If the judge cuts off the flow of oil in September but the Army Corps’ review drags on for another year, that would be a significant financial blow to the pipeline’s developer. But it sounds as if lawyers for the tribe are worried about the opposite case, i.e. the Army Corps finishes its review quickly and without their input. A lawyer for the tribe tells the Hill, “We want to be involved in the process.” He warned of additional legal action if the Army Corps fails to accept public comment.